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In the previous article we briefly introduced some of the main benefits of dynamic style of yoga – power yoga – and also highlighted the importance of fat burning process and muscle toning if we want to tone our body and eliminate the unestheatic fat. This time we will zoom on the first of the processes – How to burn the fat with yoga?

Power yoga is a dynamic concept of yoga and the sessions are usually sequenced in order to burn the fat. From the point of view of metabolism we need to activate the aerobic metabolism. For this to happen we need to exercise with light or medium intenstity during 20-30 minutes and the muscles need to be well oxygenated. The intensity of our exercise can be measured with pulse frequency which ideally should be beween 65 to 75% of our maximum pulse frequency. It can be easily calculated with the following formula: women = 226 – age, men = 220 - age. If muscle activity is performed with enough oxygen, ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is then created from carbohydrates, proteins and fat.   

How do we actually burn the fat?

During the aerobic exercise our body produces hormones that help to divide the fat and send it to the blood stream so it is used as a source of energy.

Why is it important to mantain the activity for at least half an hour?

The reason is that our body always uses energy from glucose stored in our muscles first.

If we keep going with the medium intensity exercise while our blood is being well oxygenated (the reason why regular and deep breath is essential during yoga practice), the storage of the glucose is exhausted and our body switches to burn the fat together with the glucose stored in the liver as a source of energy.

Long lasting aerobic training with medium intensity is the best for fat burning. At this point, if we talk about 120 – 140 heart beats per minute, the fat burning comparing to glucose burning in the liver is higher.

If we want to be sure we can check our pulse very easily – put 2 fingers on the kneck or wrist and count the beats during 10 seconds and then multiply with 6.

The signs of aerobic exercise is not only faster pulse but also deeper breath and sweating as the body gets cooler. Attention – deeper breath does not mean we are losing it or hardly catching it. When we are out of the breath we are practicing anaerobic exercise which is not what we want if our intention is to burn the fat. We should be able to talk normally while exercising – another easy check.

Regular practice of power yoga can build up faster metabolism which is very beneficial after the training, too. How is it possible that fat burning continues after training? Muscles are the tissues in our body that spend most of the energy. After aerobic exercise, our body needs to restore the energy in the muscles so the faster metabolism continues afterwards, even during the sleep.

In case of power yoga, fat burning is started during the sun salutations - with regular breath, correct pulse frequency and enough oxygen for the muscles, first sugar is being spent by the muscles as a source of energy and later on the fat .

Sun salutations are practiced during 15-20 minutes and we naturally continue with more dynamic sequence which is the peak of the practice. Even if it doesnt take long, apprx.10 minutes, for the metabolism it is energetically a challenging part. Even if the sun salutations were not performed with enough intensity and the metabolism does not switch into ATP, it will definitely happen during the dynamic part. In the static part of the power yoga sequence, in which we tone the muscles and build up the strength, we still benefit from faster metabolism even when the pulse frequency is getting slower.  

By Petra Satinová, Joga zdravo


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